Ballistol Gun Cleaner Review

For a while now I’ve been using dedicated gun oils and lubricants. Everything from the tried and true Hoppe’s No. 9 to BreakFree CLP and most recently, Shooter Lube.

Ballistol has been around since roughly 1989 as the brand as we see it today and can be found in almost every garage in America.

In 1904, Dr. Helmut Klever produced a special compound that he named Ballistol. That name came from the words "ballistic" and "oleum", which in Latin means "oil"; hence ballistic oil or in other words gun oil.

In 1905, Ballistol was developed as a weapon oil for the German Imperial Army, and since then has been well regarded as a very effective multi-purpose oil.

Hickock45 is well known for using Ballistol and highly recommends using it when you need to quickly clean your guns.

For a step-by-step guide on how to clean your AR15, check out our blog titled How To Clean An AR-15 and The Tools You’ll Need.

Ballistol vs WD40

What is the difference between these two oils? Is one better than the other?

In short, they are different. Ballistol was made to be a multi-purpose gun oil and cleaner, whereas WD40 is not an oil and therefore has a specific purpose. Let me explain.

Is Ballistol Good For Guns

The short answer is yes. I’ve been using Ballistol off and on for the past few years. It’s my go-to gun oil when on the range or if I’m out in my garage cleaning the guns on the bench.

Ballistol gun oil is great for throwing into your range bag and forgetting about it. It’s contained in an aerosol can with a cap, so no worries about a solvent or oil leaking all over the inside of your range bag.

Additionally, I keep two cans of Ballistol on the workbench in my garage in case I decide to open the doors on a nice day to clean my guns. The reason is the smell. It’s not a bad smell by any means, but it does remind me of sweat; similar to a men’s locker room.

Aside from the smell, the stuff works really well. I thought it might be too good to be true, but I was proven wrong after the first use.

I used the included red straw to coat the inside of my Glock barrel. I then sprayed the outside of the barrel generously and waited about 1 minute. I wiped down the barrel with a rag, and all the carbon came right off. After two passes with my bore snake, the barrel looked like new.

I then used the rag that had residual Ballistol oil on it and wiped down the slide and frame to give them a light coating of oil. Within 5 minutes, I was done cleaning my pistol.

Ballistol Gun Cleaner Review

Unlike most other gun cleaners, when Ballistol oil comes in contact with water, it remains on the surface, even after the water evaporates.

Can You Use WD40 on Guns

WD-40 should not be used on firearms as it does not function as a protectant, cleaner, or lubricant.

While it may seem logical to use WD-40 for cleaning guns due to its solvent properties, it is not an ideal lubricant for firearms.

This is because it evaporates too quickly, leaving the gun without sufficient lubrication.

By the time you load your rounds and start firing, the WD-40 will most likely have evaporated, leaving the gun without any lubrication.

WD-40 Multi-Use Product with SMART STRAW

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Prices accurate at time of writing

There are, however, a few exceptions to using WD40 on your firearms.

One exception is that if you come across a firearm that is completely rusted, preventing you from disassembling it, then WD40 is your best bet to get everything loosened up and disassembled.

The second exception is if you accidentally submerge your firearm in water. Because WD40 displaces water, it will buy you some time by keeping it from rusting until you can use proper gun oil.

Even in that situation, Ballistol would work equally well, if not better. Since Ballistol can be sprayed on a wet weapon and remain on the weapon after the water dries, this proves it is a superior solution to WD40.

And since they both come in the form of aerosol cans, you might as well just get the Ballistol.


Does the military use Ballistol?

Ballistol appears to have exceeded the requirements and specifications, as it was adopted by the German military in 1905 and remained in use until 1945.

The US Coast Guard, a few Navy SEAL Teams, and the German Special Forces all currently make use of Ballistol.

Is Ballistol made in the USA?

Ballistol GmbH, based in the Bavarian village of Aham, produces and distributes the product. It was originally developed for cleaning, lubricating, and protecting firearms.

What is Ballistol Made of?

Ballistol, according to its 2016 Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), is composed of the following key ingredients:

  • White Mineral Oil: White mineral oil is a clear, odorless, and colorless oil derived from petroleum. It is commonly used in various applications as a lubricant and rust inhibitor.
  • Propane: Propane is a flammable hydrocarbon gas often used as a propellant in aerosol products. In the case of Ballistol aerosol versions, propane may be included to aid in dispensing the product.
  • Isohexane (aerosol only): Isohexane is another hydrocarbon compound and is primarily used as a propellant in aerosol spray products. It helps to expel the product from the container when the aerosol can is pressed.

These ingredients, combined with other chemical additives such as medicinal-grade mineral oil, alkaline salts of oleic acid, various alcohols, Benzyl Acetate, and oil derived from vegetable seeds, make up the formulation of Ballistol.

Ballistol is known for its versatility and is used for cleaning, lubricating, and protecting firearms, tools, and other metal objects. It is important to note that product formulations may change over time, so it is advisable to check the most recent MSDS or product label for up-to-date information.

Wrapping It Up

I am amazed at how much easier it was to clean using Ballistol gun cleaner. I don’t know what kind of snake oil they put into this product, but it certainly works wonders.

Ballistol effectively handles even the dirtiest and foulest firearms. Moreover, this German lubricant not only cleans but also provides your weapon with an impenetrable, rust-resistant coating.

Ballistol is an outstanding firearm cleaner, lubricant, and protector. I am confident that when I use it to clean my gun, it won’t leave any sticky residue, and the trigger will operate smoothly.

Additionally, I don’t have to be concerned about rust or corrosion. It’s hard to ask for more from a lubricant.

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